Theorizing the Contemporary

Created in 2012, Theorizing the Contemporary seeks to extend the horizon of social analysis in new directions, including challenges to what constitutes "theory" in the first place. Theorizing the Contemporary series are reviewed by the editors of Cultural Anthropology; series editors must be current members of the SCA.

How to Submit

Send a one-paragraph description of the proposed series, a list of 10–15 contributors, and a 50–75 word abstract of each piece to Jessica Lockrem at culanth@culanth.org.

Embodied Ecologies

Embodied Ecologies

The materiality of human bodies at the smallest scales—genes, microbes, chemicals, hormones—is increasingly being understood as both responsive to broader envir... More

Temporary Possession

Temporary Possession

Around the world, experiences of ownership are turning toward temporary and contingent forms of possession. This Theorizing the Contemporary series explores tem... More

Speculative Anthropologies

Speculative Anthropologies

At the intersection of speculative fiction and anthropology, we find a sense of epistemological humility about the kind of worlds we could or should inhabit. ... More

Time of Monsters

Time of Monsters

In her contribution to the 2016 Hot Spots series on liberalism’s contemporary crisis, Andrea Muehlebach aptly and beautifully rendered our current political s... More

The Naturalization of Work

The Naturalization of Work

The naturalization of work usually refers to social processes that make a life underpinned by labor seem unquestionable, inevitable, and even desirable. This ki... More

Speaking Volumes

Speaking Volumes

Having engaged with the recent volumetric turn in architecture and political geography, anthropologists are increasingly concerned with realms such as air, oc... More

Keywords for Ethnography and Design

Keywords for Ethnography and Design

This series of short essays explores issues facing ethnographers working on or in collaboration with design as a field. It begins from the proposition that the ... More

Our Lives with Electric Things

Our Lives with Electric Things

Our lives with electric things are positively charged with meaning. Our bodies pulse with electrical activity. The electric appliances, devices, and technologie... More

Evil Infrastructures

Evil Infrastructures

Can an infrastructure be evil? The short pieces in this Theorizing the Contemporary series, which were originally commissioned for the 2016 Society for Social S... More

Digital Ontology

Digital Ontology

It might be argued that anthropology has come late to the question of whether there is an ontology to the digital. Although scholars in software and media studi... More